Thursday, March 6, 2014

Home Butchery.

This has been another busy week. On Monday we picked up the two pigs that our friends had had slaughtered at our local butchers shop.
 We had decided that we would like to have our half of Gloucester Old Spot just as a side so we could practice our butchery skills in preparation for when we have our own pigs. Butchery  done here by a butcher seems to consist of running the various parts through a  band saw, not too much attention is given to the various cuts that we grew up with. We wanted specific  cuts for curing and sausage making, and we did not want joints so big that you would need a dozen people to eat it all.
Half a pig ready for butchering.
As it turned out it was far easier than we had imagined, although to be honest it is not the first time that we have butchered, we have done venison and goat kids in the past, so had some idea of what was needed. I would like to say that we will use everything but the oyk, however we have not kept the trotters , tail or ears. In Spain the ears are considered a delicacy and are often served as Tapas, lovely if you like chewing tasteless bits of gristle.
 Half of the belly is now dry curing for bacon,
Belly of pork ready to slow roast.
               the other half we cut into strips for slow roasting.
 A small amount of the gammon is in a wet cure, hopefully this will turn into Gammon Steaks which will then have to be frozen. The cheeks are dry curing hopefully to turn into Guanciale, this according to recipes is similar to Pancetta, after the dry curing it is then air cured for a further five to six weeks and can then be eaten raw.
We are hoping to smoke the pork belly once the dry curing is complete. We had come up with all sorts of ideas for making a smoking chamber, then the light came on. We have an old boiler room which had housed the oil boiler when we first moved here. Now redundant and no longer housing a boiler it is probably the ideal place to turn into our smoke house.
Simple and delicious.
We have tried the first bit of pork, the belly, slow roasted in crab-apple jelly, totally delicious, served simply with buttery mashed potatoes and cauliflower with grated cheese. We look forward to many more meals from this lovely pig. Congratulations to Pat and Celine for producing such a quality pig.
We took a trip up to Florence Court in Fermanagh to the wood yard that we used to use years ago, we knew that Danny the owner had oak that we could use for the smoking, plus we wanted to get the fencing posts for the pig run. Fencing posts here are very expensive and many of them are not pressure treated , cross the boarder into the north and you are paying just £1 for a tanalised post as opposed to 2.25 euros here, we also came away with suitable wood for Simon's wood carving .
Even the bees are out enjoying the sunshine.
It was a lovely trip out and a beautiful day, even the bees were active in Danny's hives.
Sheep gently grazing on a rocky outcrop.
            Fermanagh is a very beautiful county and well worth visiting.
We have a glut of eggs at the moment, we wont be incubating any for at least another month, we are too far behind on getting the garden sorted out to give time to young chicks. What to do with all these eggs? We can only eat a certain amount and only eat so much cake, so lemon curd it is.
I have done the first three jars and will do more tomorrow plus make more ice-cream. No doubt when we are ready to start incubating we will have a shortage, that's the way it normally goes. feast or famine.
Spring really does seem to be here, primroses are out along with the dwarf daffodils, the larger daffs have now all dropped their heads and will be in bloom by the weekend. I even found some snowdrops in bloom today after thinking that the ones I had planted had failed, they just needed a few more days to show themselves, hopefully they will spread.


  1. oh my gosh the thought of daffodils is wonderful we have still so much snow, I found you today through a friend we have in common, I'm so glad I have, best wishes from Canada

  2. I hope you enjoy my blog and that you get better weather soon.

  3. Definitely borrowing the belly pork / crab apple idea! Good to see the bees, too.

  4. Gooseberry's work well as well, just enough sharpness to take out the richness of the meat.

  5. Oooooh that pork belly looks delicious! Very nice. And the photos of the spring flowers are really lovely xx

  6. I will do the pork belly for you both when you come.